Thursday, September 30, 2010
ORNL in the News

Scientists Assume Governor’s Chairs

(Tennessee Alumnus) Two materials experts are the newest appointments to the prestigious UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair program. William Weber, an authority in the ways radiation interacts with materials, is the eighth Governor’s Chair. The ninth appointment is Brian Wirth, who specializes in ways materials behave in extreme environments. Weber is part of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UT Knoxville and also serves in ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division. He came from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he had been a researcher since 1977...9/29

EPRI Heads DOE's Cyber Security Collaborative

(Environmental Protection) The U.S. Department of Energy has selected the Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI) cyber security collaborative to assess and develop technologies, best practices, metrics and standards to protect the U.S. electric sector against cyber attacks...The EPRI-led collaborative comprises Enernex, Flowers CCS, Xanthus Consulting International, N-Dimension, Palo Alto Research Center, SRI, Oak Ridge National Laboratory...9/29

A Healthier, More Efficient Way to Cook

(New York Times) Each year more than 1.5 million people worldwide die prematurely from lung cancer, emphysema, childhood pneumonia and other ailments caused by indoor air pollution — fumes from open cooking fires — according to the World Health Organization...Envirofit’s cylindrical metal stove looks like a lobster kettle or a small bucket. Wood or biomass is fed into an opening at the base of the stove and burned. Pots and pans rest on top. Simple as it looks, however, the design is based on five years of market research and a program of research, development and testing involving the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory at Colorado State University, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Shell Foundation...9/29

Chemical weapon explosive plan revised

(Pueblo Chieftain) The large number of projected rejects among the Pueblo Chemical Depot’s 780,000 chemical weapons is a worst-case scenario, local officials and Boone residents were told Wednesday night... [Kevin] Flamm said he hoped that the number would be a lot lower than the 37,595 that will go into a model for an environmental assessment of the plan. That study will be done by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory...9/29


Department of Energy funds projects to beef up electric grid cybersecurity

(Infosecurity) According to DOE, the projects address cybersecurity concerns from two approaches: 1) cybersecurity research and development (R&D) and 2) the establishment of the National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization...9/30

State & Regional

Solar proposals net $9M statewide

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Three months after making grants available to businesses looking to invest in solar power, the Tennessee Solar Institute has awarded more than $9 million to 108 applicants across the state...9/30

First combined cycle power plant operating

(AP) TVA says the first combined cycle natural gas-fueled power plant in the state is officially operating. The federal utility said Wednesday that Lagoon Creek Combined Cycle Plant, near Brownsville, Tenn., began commercial operation with a generating capacity of 550 megawatts...9/30


Gates Fears Wider Gap Between Country and Military

(NY Times) The United States is at risk of developing a cadre of military leaders who are cut off politically, culturally and geographically from the population they are sworn to protect, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told an audience at Duke University on Wednesday night...9/29

East Tennessee

Nuclear Engineering in Top 10

(Tennessee Alumnus) UT Knoxville’s nuclear engineering graduate program is now a top 10 program, according to the U.S. News and World Report 2011 graduate rankings. The program was ranked ninth in the country, rising three spots from last year...9/29

$1 Billion and Counting

(Tennessee Alumnus) One billion. That’s billion, with a b. It’s the kind of number that grabs your attention. So it was certainly ambitious for UT to set $1 billion as the goal for the Campaign for Tennessee...9/29

energy & science policy

Alexander wants to upgrade 'substandard' nuke facilities

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee's senior senator and the third-ranking senator in the Republican Caucus, said Wednesday that he hadn't decided whether to vote for ratification of the New START Treaty. He said he's inclined to support further reductions in the world's nuclear arsenals, but wants to make sure U.S. weapons facilities - including the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge - are on track for modernization...9/30

Inside Energy Extra

9/29 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- Senate sets last-minute vote on funding
- US determining cost of Macondo spill
- House passes bill to audit BP fund
- House votes quick call on pipe breaks
- Small reactors' risks, potential aired

science & technology

Solar Cells Thinner Than Wavelengths of Light Hold Huge Power Potential

(Science News) Ultra-thin solar cells can absorb sunlight more efficiently than the thicker, more expensive-to-make silicon cells used today, because light behaves differently at scales around a nanometer (a billionth of a meter), say Stanford engineers...9/28

A Third of ‘Extinct’ Mammals May Still Be Alive

(Wired Science) ...In order to determine how often extinct species had been rediscovered, University of Queensland scientists Diana Fisher and Simon Blomberg created a dataset of 187 mammal species that have been reported extinct, extinct in the wild, or probably extinct since 1500, as well as those which have been rediscovered...9/29

Chilled-Out Buildings Save Energy, Money

(NPR) A facility in Baltimore uses a high-tech version of old-fashioned ice to provide efficient, thrifty cooling to local buildings. Water is frozen at night when electricity is cheapest, then chills water circulated to buildings. Customers save about 10 percent on their energy costs...9/29

Car's Body Could Work As A Battery

(Discovery News) Volvo is experimenting with a new composite material that can store and release energy more quickly than a convention lithium-ion battery...9/29

Other Stories

Biometric identification faces real-world hurdles

(USA Today) ...Federal agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are funding research in improved biometric screening, but the report cautions they're not doing basic research into whether the physical characteristics involved are truly reliable or how they change with aging, disease, stress or other factors...9/27